You might have heard this refrain before: “Cannabis helps me relax and so it helps with sex.” Or maybe something more in the vein of: “Cannabis makes everything better…including sex!”
While the relationship between sex and cannabis could be developed via anecdotal evidence, the science is much harder to come by, most likely due to the ongoing challenge for academics to study a plant prohibited by many countries. Yet, the business opportunity for sexual products infused with cannabis continues to surge, and the science available so far can lead us to recognize that cannabis can play a role in the bedroom.
The most cited study on cannabis and sex comes from a 2017 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth, covering nearly 60,000 people. The researchers found that people who consumed cannabis often had more sex: women who consumed cannabis weekly had 34 percent more sex than those who didn’t, and for men the figure was 22 percent.1
But a link doesn’t equal causation, and so perhaps cannabis users, in the first place, have more sex in general than non-users.
Then there’s this working paper, recently posted to the National Bureau of Economic Research, which concluded that passing medical cannabis laws led to higher birthrates, by about four births per quarter for every 10,000 women of childbearing age.
The authors wrote: “More sex and less contraceptive use may be attributed to behavioral responses such as increased attention to the immediate hedonic effects of sexual contact, delayed discounting and ignoring costs associated with risky sex.”2
One of the more well-known companies operating in the sex-cannabis space is Foria. Intimate massage oils and lubes form the backbone of their product lineup, while CBD tonics and vape pens are also making headway.
“Having a foundation of a deep and satisfying sexual connection is one of those things that can keep a relationship feeling juicy and alive, and we’re thrilled that cannabis can contribute to that experience by helping to release stress and return to a more centered, present frame of mind and body,” says Kiana Reeves, Foria’s communications director.
She adds that Foria was attracted to this industry due to “the wisdom of nature and humanity’s long-standing relationship with this particular plant — and we were fascinated that this plant had been demonized by puritanical cultures in the same way they demonized women’s sexuality.”
Reeves believes that what hurts the sex-cannabis relationship is the lack of education. Reeves has noticed that, “The vast majority of people still haven’t heard that THC and CBD lubes help enhance arousal and soothe discomfort for female-bodied people. When people do hear about this, many assume it’s about psychoactivity, rather than localized effects on blood flow, nerves, and pelvic muscles.”
Dr. Lydia Hatcher, who studies cannabis at the Chronic Pain Institute at McMaster University, notes how there is no research or evidence supporting many company claims, but it could all come down to “relieving anxiety or acting as a placebo.” While the science isn’t there yet, she admits she’s heard from people who say “cannabis relaxes them before sex and makes it more enjoyable.”
As for a cannabis newbie opting to try bringing the drug into bed with their partner, an expert offers this cautionary note: “Every person has a unique makeup both psychologically and physically, and for cannabis to help improve sexuality, you must find the type that works for you," sexologist Nick Karras, author of The Passionate High: A Guide to Using Cannabis For Better Sex and Creativity, told CNN. His sage advice: “I recommend experimenting with a small amount of indica strains, sativa strains and a hybrid of both to see what works best.”3